How to Wax a Car in Five Easy Steps

Just finished washing the car but wondering why it's still missing that shine? Then give your ride a proper wax job. Not only will it bring out the bling but a coat of wax protects the paint from the harsh elements, as well as unpleasant matter, such as road tar and bird poop. In the guide below, we'll break down the materials needed and the job itself in five simple parts.

Vehicle System
Appearance, Body, & Towing
Skill Level

This is a good project for new DIYers

Time to Complete
45 - 60 Minutes
  1. Before getting underway, ensure the vehicle has been cleaned and properly dried. Find a spot out of the hot sun, like in a parkade or covered garage.

  2. Depending on the particular wax chosen, squeeze or scoop a little bit onto a towel or applicator pad and identify a specific section of the body to focus on. A good idea is start on the cleanest panels first (i.e. the roof, hood, trunk or hatch) and work your way down.

  3. Dab the wax-applied pad directly to the paint and spread via a gentle circular motion. Once the panel is completed there should be a hazy white finish — move onto the next section.

  4. After the entire vehicle is completed, take another pad or towel for polishing. Similar to the initial application process, do a single section at a time, buffing away the dried wax until all you see is the shiny paint underneath.

  5. Perform a walk-around and identify any missed spots.

  6. Pro Tip

    Be careful around any black plastic or rubber trim, as any accidental wax finding its way there can be tricky to remove (if it does happen, try plastic restorer or a pencil eraser). Does the paint feel rough before waxing? A clay bar session might be in order to get rid of baked on grit. Do so before waxing.

Last updated August 21, 2019